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Carlene Carter
Stronger

Review By Steven Stone
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  In the eleven years since Carlene Carter's last album she's seen many of her loved ones pass on. In February 2003 her long-time partner Howie Epstein died. That May, her mother, June Carter Cash passed away. In September, her stepfather, Johnny Cash died. Finally her youngest sister Rosy passed away in October. On a positive note, at the end of 2003 Carter met Joseph Breen, whom she married in 2006. "Almost everything on this record I wrote since I've been with my husband," Carter admits.

Carter's career began in 1978 with the album Never Together But Close Sometimes. 1979's Two Sides to Every Woman quickly followed it. In 1980 Carter released the influential album, Musical Shapes. This collaboration with her then-husband Nick Lowe, demonstrated that pop and country could be combined to create new fusion. The album was way ahead of its time and foreshadowed the rock and roll hot-country sound that came to prominence in Nashville in the late 90's.

1990 saw the release of I Fell In Love, which garnered two top-ten hits. 1993's Little Love Letters had another top-ten hit. Her 1995 album, Little Acts of Treason, didn't produce any hit singles, but produced great reviews. Unlike many contemporary recording artists, whose early work can be found only by digging in dusty record bins or placing high bids on Internet auction sites, all of Carter's early records are still in print. That's because even at her most experimental Carter has a traditional country aesthetic that defies time and trends.

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If you are a fan of her early work, Carlene Carter's latest is simply a "must have" album. She ranks as one of the best singers and songwriters to ever come out of Nashville.

 

 

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